Branding, menus, pricing and location all play a role in consumers’ choice of QSR, but new research based on location data suggests global brands also need to look at population density and physical footprint – and finds that there is a high rate of crossover between segments.

The How the world eats report – the first of a quarterly series examining the patterns of behaviour from over 2.5 million consumers in 133,000 locations globally – analyses the behaviours of more than four million mobile device signals seen in McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, KFC and Domino’s in Australia, Singapore, the UK and the US.

Blis found that exclusivity to individual restaurants differs dramatically across the world, with US consumers demonstrating highest loyalty to their favourite food outlets compared to other markets.

American consumers were found to be 70% more likely than British diners to visit a QSR brand exclusively, while Australians are twice as likely to be loyal to their favourite fast food joints as Singaporeans.

Some cultural idiosyncrasies also are evident: four-in-ten Brits will opt for a traditional sandwich from outlets like Pret a Manger over other fast-food options, while a third of Singaporeans prefer hawker-style franchises serving regional fare.

And Aussies love a burger almost as much as Americans: these two countries had the highest foot traffic to burger QSRs – 39% of American diners and 28% of Australians.

In those markets where consumers show higher exclusivity, such as the US and Australia, the report argued that “the QSR doesn’t need to adapt far beyond ‘original’ branding”.

But in a market like Singapore it will need to “localise communications to better appeal to consumers seeking a wider variety”.

The report also found that the lower levels of exclusivity in markets like the UK and Singapore are linked to higher population densities.

Customer crossover between the QSR segments, meanwhile, was common; KFC, for example, demonstrated nearly 40% crossover globally between burger outlets.

And in that context, physical scale remains a key factor: in the US, UK and Singapore, Blis found a strong correlation (+0.8) between the number of stores within a competitive segment and the crossover they experienced with a specific retailer.

Sourced from Blis; additional content by WARC staff